—– By: Ann Costantino —–
Johnny Olszewski, Jr. has won Baltimore County’s race for county executive. The Democratic nominee pulled off the win tonight against Republican opponent, Al Redmer, Jr.
During his acceptance speech, Olszewski said, “The only special interest we will serve in Baltimore County will be the people of Baltimore County… We are all in this together,” he said. “I am so excited for this county’s future.”
Olszewski will serve as the county’s 14th county executive, succeeding interim County Executive Don Mohler, who took the helm in May after previous County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died suddenly of cardiac arrest earlier that month. Kamenetz, who was running for governor at the time of his death, served as the county executive since 2010.
Olszewski, who prefers to be called Johnny O, is a former Patapsco High School teacher in the county and worked under Baltimore County Public Schools interim Superintendent Verletta White for one year. After a five year teaching career as a social studies teacher, Olszewski served on the Maryland House of Delegates. He was later defeated after a run for senator of his district in 2014 against Johnny R. Salling.
During a June interview with The Baltimore Post, days before the primary election, Olszewski apologized to The Baltimore Post on behalf of the county for the lack of transparency a reporter experienced during much of the investigation into a scandal involving a controversial Towson development project. With the exception of the county attorney, Michael Field, the entire county government shut down all communication with The Baltimore Post after a reporter was confronted in the hallway by interim County Executive Mohler, who was Kamenetz’s chief of staff at the time.
Olszewski told The Baltimore Post during the interview, “An Olszewski administration will be open, accessible, and transparent and will communicate.” And, he said, “Transparency means people having full faith in the government,” and he pledged that under his administration, “all questions will have answers and will be handled promptly.”
“It’s your government,” Olszewski said. The government “works not only for you, but with you,” he told The Baltimore Post. And he said he would “put leaders in place who value openness and integrity.”
“I believe that most employees will follow the county executive. People who follow that,” he said, “will be encouraged. Employees who don’t will have to be managed. Our job is to serve the citizens of Baltimore County.” Olszewski said, “If we are not responsive, we are not doing it.”
Olszewski, 36 and from Dundalk, will take the helm on December 3rd. He ended his acceptance speech tonight, stating, “Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we get started.”
This story will be updated.